May 24th, 2011 had a double header of Council Meetings as Council moves towards wrapping up a lot of unfinished business before summer hits and then the election call. This piece is a review of the Special Council Meeting that took place in the afternoon. The big item on the agenda in terms of political and social impact is what is called the ESA or Environmentally Sensitive Development Permit Areas Bylaw. In short it is a series of definitions or restrictions on land use aimed at protecting natural habitat such as trees approaching maturity, wetlands and habitat or landscape that is vulnerable when people move in. Key to understanding this is the map that defines what is deemed environmentally significant and/or sensitive. A near final draft version of this map can be found here [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.26 MB]. It shows property lines around the island so if you are curious if your tree removal days are coming to an end you should download it and have a boo. Much of the criticism vocalized around the proposal was issued by Councillor Morse. Two items were of concern to her. One, the accuracy of the map and how changes would be made and two, some of the definitions were vague. Of the concerns issued, some were on board with the various elements criticized and others were not. Environmental Consultant, Alan Whitehead and BIM Planner, Hap Stelling were on hand to present the package on this heavily revised bylaw and to field questions and concerns from members of Council.
The second portion of the meeting was taken up with a continuation of the Strategic Plan update and discussion that began in the previous Council meeting. A good potion of the roundtable discussion had to do with infrastructure upgrades to Cove Bay sewer and water all in the context of the desire of some Council members to get moving on affordable housing in the Cove and the Cove periphery and dispersal of some of the Surplus Lands. Things began to unravel just as it became clear to Council that all of these items were interdependent on one another. I will leave it to the viewer and other political pundits to dissect why the discussion about a solution to move forward essentially broke down.
To arrive at cohesive well-planned solution for The Cove and periphery standing up to the criteria and scrutiny of experienced planners and architects, at this late juncture in their mandate, would be a herculean task to say the least.
You can Download the video here [QuickTime - 540.67 MB] ( with Internet Explorer use right-click > save target as, on a Mac use control-click > save link as... ) or you can watch online after the break.
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